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A CRATLOE COUNCILLOR HAS ADMITTED he has followed dog owners along the Shannon Estuary Loop Route to see if and how they are disposing of their canine companions’ excrement.

Cllr Pat O’Gorman (FF) told Tuesday’s meeting of the Shannon Municipal District of his new investigative approach to dealing with dog owners on the Loop Walk which has encountered difficulties due to the different entry and exit points.

He stated, “I’m meeting people walking on the Loop Walk, they are picking up the poo but it is where they put it afterwards, I followed one man to see what he did what his bag of poo, he hung the poo on the tree, then I asked him why he hung the poo on the tree and he said he would collect it on the way back”.

This approach is common, O’Gorman surmised following his detective work. “The issue isn’t with the people or the dog, they have no place to put it. We’re going against ourselves. If they get side-tracked, the bag of poo stays there on the tree while people are walking”.

He proposed that the Shannon MD provide bags and dog waste bins along the route to which senior executive engineer, Tom Mellett responded that a leave no trace policy is in operation, “to this end additional bins are not encouraged. Scoop bags are provided by our environment department and are available free of charge from the Shannon MD office upon request”.

Clarification was sought by Cllr O’Gorman on whether it is part of the policy to not provide bins for dog boo, the Cratloe representative was of the believe such infrastructure had been provided in Lahinch. Mellett said he would try ascertain if the criteria was different for dog bins.

Dog poo remains a constant sticking point for Shannon Tidy Towns, Cllr Donna McGettigan (SF) commented. “There’s a big difference between carrying an empty packet of crisps and a bag of dog poo. Dog owners are picking it up but it is hard to ask people to carry around a bag of poo for others, I wouldn’t do it,” she confessed.

It is a problem everywhere, Cllr Pat McMahon (FF) stated, “An awful lot of dog owners haven’t made the effort, they’re halfway there by using the bag but then they leave it on the tree”. He referenced the ban on dogs at beaches in Kerry announced this week and suggested looking at the approach of other EU nations. “It is a huge problem, we’ve improved a little. In the pandemic, it was very true that a dog was a person’s best friend, when they died it was like losing a family member”.

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